What To Say When You Are Asked “What’s Your Hourly Rate?”

Do you get asked the question “What’s Your Hourly Rate?” by potential clients?

How do you respond?

Do you just throw in one of these number into your response?:

  • $10/hour
  • $20/hour
  • $50/hour
  • $100/hour
  • $200/hour
  • $500/hour

Potential clients often respond in one of these ways:

  1. “That’s too cheap!”
  2. “ooo, that’s too expensive and way out of my budget!”
  3. “ok, sign me up!”

If they say “that’s too cheap!” that’s a disaster because:

  • You’ve set off an alarm in the prospects head. You’ve signalled to them that your quality is low, or you don’t have enough experience, or enough training. If you did have those things you would have said the rate they wanted to hear

If they say “ooo, that’s too expensive and way out of my budget!” that’s a disaster because:

  • You’ve scored a black cross on their list of criteria and if you try and justify it now by jumping in and defending yourself with a list of your previous clients, experience, training you’ve had, years on the job, results you’ve got, whatever, it’s too late, you are on the back foot.

Even if they say “ok, sign me up!” that’s a disaster too because:

  • You could have doubled it and they might have said yes! You’ve just cut yourself off from a huge pay day. Gutted.

So what can you do?

First, watch this 37 second video of how I answer the question “what’s your hourly rate?”, and then keep reading below:

My point is, there is no way to answer the question with the right number.

So don’t do it.

Never say your hourly rate.

Instead, quote for a result or a package.

Here’s how to respond to the question “What’s your hourly rate?” in 4 steps:

  1. Dodge the question completely and say:
    • “I want to check I understand what you need first…”
  2. Then read back to them a summary of their problem/goals and check you’ve got it right:
    • “As I understand it, you want to… [their-problem/goals]”. Is that right?”
  3. Did they say “yes” or “no”?
    • If they say “yes”, move to the step 4
    • If they say “no” then ask them to clarify and read back a new summary
  4. Then you say “I can help you achieve [their-goal]. My price is [your-package-price]”

It’s best to deliver step 4 via email when you’ve had some time to digest the project and crunch some numbers. So you could say:

4. “I can help you achieve [their-goal]. Can I have your email address so I can crunch some numbers and get back to you?”

If they push and push for your hourly rate you can respond with:

  • “I don’t have an hourly rate. I work on a results basis. Tell me what you need to achieve and I’ll tell you what it’ll take”

What do you think?

Agree? Disagree? Say so in the comments below.

Should I Renew My Yellow Pages Listing For My Small Business?

Is that a questions you are struggling with right now?

Have you been advertising in the Yellow Pages hardcopy and/or online for years but now you’re thinking of cancelling?

Do you suspect you are wasting your money, but you are shit-scared that your business will completely dry up if you stop paying them thousands of dollars every year?

Snap out of it sucker.

The free one-liner with your phone number is all you need.

(Except if you’re a plumber. If you’re a plumber then buy a huge expensive ad because when older people have a plumbing emergency they panic, dig out a 3 year old copy of the Yellow Pages out of a drawer, and call number after number to find someone that can come right now.)

How To Find Out For Sure If Your Yellow Pages Advertising Is Not Working

Measure it.

  1. Ask every new customer how they heard about you
  2. Add up all the mentions of “Yellow Pages” in a year (or in a month and then multiply by 12)
  3. Divide that number by 4 (I’m assuming your conversion rate is 25%)
  4. Multiply that number by your average revenue per customer over a year
  5. Divide that number by 4 (I’m assuming your Net Profit is 25%)
  6. That’s how much Yellow Pages is worth to you to break even. Don’t spend a cent more than that. If the customer buys from you again next year, that’s your gravy to keep.

Eg For XYZ & Co:

  • 12 mentions per year
  • 12 / 4 (a conversion rate of 25%) = 3
  • $100 revenue x 3 = $300
  • $300 / 4 = $75 ad to break even in the first year

Eg for ABC & Co:

  • 120 mentions per year
  • 120 / 4 (a conversion rate of 25%) = 30
  • $1,000 revenue x 30 = $30,000
  • $30,000 / 4 = $7,500 ad to break even in the first year

So, if you’re not a plumber:

5 Reasons Why You Should Quit Advertising In The Yellow Pages (hardcopy)

  1. Just because you’ve been doing it for 10 years doesn’t mean that you should keep the momentum up. That momentum is in the wrong direction!
  2. Just because your competitors are doing it is not proof it works, it only means they are suckers too!
  3. Because 12 month contracts suck so bad. They put a huge amount of high pressure sales tactics into getting you to sign up because they know that you won’t bother measuring the effectiveness of the ads over the coming months because you fear that if you did, you will actually find out you wasted your money and you’ll feel like a fool, so you don’t bother, because you want to save yourself the embarrassment. No one likes to realise they made a huge financial mistake. And you can’t cancel anyway because it’s in print. And you don’t have to worry about it until next year anyway, so you forget about it.
  4. Because the amazing discounts that the sales reps offer you at the last minute when you just told them you want to cancel aren’t actually amazing, they are just a clever sales pitch. A 70% discount on advertising that doesn’t work isn’t going to make it work!
  5. Because you shouldn’t support an industry that prints millions of books with thousands of pages and dumps them on the doorsteps of millions of New Zealanders every year that didn’t ask for the books in the first place. It’s junk mail on an enormous ecologically-damaging scale

What about online Yellow Pages?

Why You Should Not Advertise In Online Yellow Pages

Because it’s a rip-off.

And it’s so easy to test and measure for yourself:

  1. Open up your webstats for the month and find any click throughs to your website from Yellow
  2. Divide that number by 10 (I’m assuming your visit to enquiry rate is 10%)
  3. Divide that number by 4 (I’m assuming your enquiry to sale conversion rate is 25%)
  4. Multiply that number by your average revenue per customer over a year
  5. Divide that number by 4 (I’m assuming your Net Profit is 25%)

Eg For XYZ & Co:

  • Cost: $60/month
  • 10 clicks per month
  • 10 / 10 (a visit to enquiry rate of 10%) = 1
  • 1 / 4 (a conversion rate of 25%) = 0.25
  • $100 revenue x 0.25 = $25
  • $25 / 4 = $6.25 is what the advertising is worth to you a month just to break even but you’re spending $60…

Eg for ABC & Co:

  • Cost: $80/month
  • 50 clicks per month
  • 50 / 10 (a visit to enquiry rate of 10%) = 5
  • 5 / 4 (a conversion rate of 25%) = 1.25
  • $1000 revenue x 1.25 = $1250
  • $1250 / 4 = $312.50 is what the ad is worth to you to break even and you’re spending $80… hooray! That is actually worth it in this example

You probably don’t need another reason, but I will share one theory with you.

I think that people are suspicious of ads or “promoted listings” on the Yellow Pages website.

They think to themselves “don’t get up in my face, I will decide who is best to serve me. My list of decision criteria does not include the item ‘whoever pays the most to be up in my face’ “.

There isn’t that level of distrust with a Google search because the ads are actually helpful. They are relevant. They are in context.

And just like Google Adwords, a fairer way for Yellow to offer you online ads would be to offer you the Cost-Per-Click model too. You could set your bid price and an algorithim could calculate who’s ad will show.

But you won’t see such an offer for Yellow because it makes it too easy for you to quit. You could run it for 1 day, or 1 week and spend $20 and you’d have enough information to decide to quit or not.

Yellow doesn’t like that. Yellow likes to lock you in for 12 months and works really hard at making sure you don’t measure effectiveness.

What do you think?

Have you recently quit and now feel good/bad about that decision?

Are you struggling with the decision right now?

Have your say in the comments below.

Is Your Blog Stale? How Not Updating Your Blog Can Damage Your Business

“When I look at your blog I can almost see the tumbleweed rolling through…”

Are visitors to your website thinking that?

If you have a blog section on your website, at some point you thought it was a good idea to get one.

You might call it your “news section” or your “article section”, they are all the same thing.

You were probably told one, or all, of these reasons.

3 Reasons Why Writing New Articles For Your Blog Is Good For Your Business

  1. “Your blog will get you better Google rankings for your website. Better rankings = more traffic = more sales”
  2. “Your blog will establish your credibility, expertise and leadership in your industry”
  3. “Your blog will keep content flowing to your customers and potential customers and remind them to buy from you”

They are all great reasons.

So why don’t you keep it updated?

How long has it been since your last article?

  • A month?
  • 3 months?
  • A year?
  • More than a year?

The longer it’s been, the worse you look.

In fact, a stale blog can actually damage your business.

4 Reasons Why A Stale Blog Can Damage Your Business

  1. Gives a bad impression: It looks like you start things but don’t finish them. Potential customers might assume you’ll treat them like that too
  2. Lowers trust: Customers might assume that if your articles/news/blog is out of date then other info on your website might be out of date too – this lowers trust
  3. Less Google love: Google loves fresh content, without fresh content, Google will visit your site less often
  4. You are easy to forget: Subscribers will forget about you. It might have taken just one more article to tip a potential customer over the edge to make a sale, but you didn’t write one today, so you’ll never know

If I’m considering purchasing a product or service and I see a blog on their website, I’ll click on it to check when the last article was written.

If it was written months ago, or even years ago, that’s a bad sign, and a huge red mark against them.

So why did you stop updating it?

3 Reasons Why You Stopped Updating Your Blog

  1. Because you are too busy fighting fires every day, you have no time to spend 1 hour, or 2 hours or longer, just sitting there and writing
  2. Because you forgot. You didn’t schedule it in your calendar so it doesn’t exist in your list of work to do
  3. Because the longer it’s been since your last article, the harder it is to write a new article today because it feels like you have the burden of writing all the future articles on your shoulders too

How You Can Have Fresh Blog Articles Written In Just 15 minutes

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a new article on your blog every 2 weeks and it only took you 15 minutes?

You can!

It’s a new service I’m offering and here is how it works:

1. Dan Necklen or I will call you and interview you for 15 minutes

2. From this interview we’ll write a 200 – 400 word article that has the following 4 components:

  • A headline that contains phrases that customers may be searching Google for (this is sooooo important)
  • With content that is interesting and puts concepts in layman’s terms (no jargon allowed!)
  • With content that demonstrates your leadership in the industry and quality of your service/products (hooray!)
  • A call to action (we’ll let your customers know what they must do next)

3. We put the article live once it’s written (crediting you as the author because we interviewed you)

And the coolest thing is, you’ll feel like a rock star being interviewed for e-news!

This is your 15 minutes of fame. Take it.

Awesome! How Much Does It Cost?

The price for this service is $240+gst every 2 weeks. Every 2 weeks you get an new article for your blog.

Imagine if each article could contribute even just one sale worth $2000 sometime over the next 12 months. Imagine getting to the end of a 12 month period with 26 articles that can do that… (that’s like $52k)

Call (07) 575 8799 and we can get started with a 4 session trial.

Cheers,

Sheldon Nesdale
Email: sheldon@marketingfirst.co.nz

P.S. Here are 3 examples of articles we’re written:

Job Hunting? Clever, But Simple Marketing Advice For Job Hunters

Looking for a new job?

Does your job hunting plan look like this?

  1. job-applicationsTrawl through job ads on Seek, TradeMe Jobs and a couple of other sites
  2. Find jobs that look interesting and throw your CV at them
  3. Wait
  4. And wait some more
  5. And apply for some more (on the assumption that it takes 100 applications to get an interview)
  6. And wait some more

Does it feel like an enormous waste of time?

That’s because it is!

Try this 5 step approach instead.

5 Steps To You Finding The Job Of Your Dreams

1. Who do you want to work for?

Write a list of the top 3 places you want to work for.

Ignore the fact that they are not hiring right now. That doesn’t matter. Just do it.

Dream big.

Life’s too short to rely on job ads to tell you where you can work.

If you don’t know the company’s very well yet, research them thoroughly through their websites.

You might realise they’re not as awesome as you hoped. Fine, choose another for your top 3 list.

You might find a particular department which you think will feel like home, and you are confident you can make a real difference there and learn lots too. Great! This will give you the passion and energy to do what it takes to end up there.

2. Who’s the boss?

Your mission is to get a 45min meeting with the boss.

Your first reaction might be to contact the HR manager. Wrong! The HR manager can’t help you. They have an ancient recruitment process to follow. They are trained to say no to you.

Bypass them completely.

That’s why you’re going to talk to the boss.

You’ll need to get some background info so, using Google News searches, LinkedIn, his organisations website, and a search on the companies office, find out as much as you can about the boss.

3. How do you get a meeting with the boss?

There are 2 major barriers in your way to achieving this goal:

  1. Gate keepers blocking your access to the boss
  2. The bosses busy schedule

You are going to leap over these barriers.

Here’s how.

First, the receptionist is the gate keeper. They take their role seriously. They are trained to not forward calls that will waste their bosses time. If they sniff out that you are job hunting they will just stop you cold with “we’re not hiring right now” if they get the chance.

Here’s how to get past all that.

Call the receptionist and ask for the boss by their first name, say “Hello there receptionist_name,  is Bob in this morning?”.

When the receptionist asks “who’s calling?” say only your first name. This creates the impression you are on a first name basis.

If you get asked “may I ask what this call is regarding?”, reply with “I’m just starting out in this industry and need career advice and I think Bob can help”.

Get through to their voicemail?

Leave a message like this: “Hi Bob, my name is John Doe, I need some advice on my career and I’m hoping you can help, I’ll call you back later”. Do not leave your phone number. Ever.

Get through to them?

Say this: “Hi Bob, I need some advice on my career and I’m hoping you can help. Can I buy you lunch on Thursday at name_of_the_best_cafe_nearby?”

This works for 4 reasons:

  1. You’re not asking for a job (very hard to give)
  2. You are asking for their advice (easy to give, and they are flattered to be asked, they want to “give back” to the next generation and this is their chance)
  3. Everyone eats lunch so it’s hard to say no to you
  4. You are inviting them to a Cafe they know is good (because you have already asked the receptionist for the name of a cafe nearby that is a favourite for most of the staff)

If Thursday doesn’t work for them, keep suggesting other days until they say yes.

Be persistent.

4. What do you talk about during the lunch appointment?

Your objectives are as follows:

  1. To appear interested, attentive, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and appreciative of their time
  2. To get them to generate a few names of who you should talk too next

The pretence is getting career advice, so briefly tell them what you’ve done so far, where you want to get to in your career (eg a job like theirs) and then ask them how to climb that ladder.

They’ll love to tell you their story.

Probe deeper with more questions during the telling of this story.

Take notes throughout. It shows that you value what they have to say.

Do not launch into a monologue all about you. Everything out of your mouth must be a question.

Towards the end, say “Thank you so much for your time today, who do you think I should talk too next?”

Ask them who they know who might be hiring now (or soon), or might have more career advice, or have another career story to tell you.

Write those contact details down. Ask them for a mobile number.

Each time they give you a name, ask “anyone else?” again and again until they say “No. That’s about it.”

5. What do you do with the names they give you?

For each name they give you you can take a huge shortcut in this process.

Ring them up, ask for them by their first name and when you get through say this: “I was having lunch with Bob from ABC Corp earlier today and he suggested I give you a call. I need some advice on my career. May I buy you lunch on Wednesday…”

6. How do you follow up?

Write a note in your diary to send a email in 2 weeks time.

In that email tell them how the meetings went with the people they recommended you talk to.

Give them an update on what you’ve learnt since you had a meeting with them.

4 weeks after that, find something you disagree with in a news article they have been mentioned in in the last 6 months and send another email stating your reasons why you disagree with their point of view.

Don’t ask (or beg) for a job.

Let them come up with the idea of offering you one.

Why you are doing all this?

Instead of spending your time trawling through job vacancies, and filling in applications, you are choosing to meet the key people in the industry you want to work in.

You will impress them with your get-out-there attitude, your ambition and your drive.

They’ll like you because these are qualities they have themselves.

You’ll remind them of a younger version of themselves and they’ll feel compelled to help you however they can.

If you impress them, they have the power to offer you a job on the spot. They have the power to tell the HR manager “I need this person, I don’t care if there are no vacancies, make one, and make it happen”.

Let’s pretend there are 6 major players in your industry that you would seriously like to work for.

Imagine that you’ve worked through the process above and made efforts to meet every boss.

Let’s recap what you’ve got:

  1. All 6 bosses know your name
  2. You’ve had lunch time meetings with 2 or 3 of these bosses
  3. You have a rare insight into career progression in this industry

Do you think that provides you with an advantage if a vacancy does pop up in the next few weeks?